Fireworks season comes with warnings

PARKERSBURG – The Parkersburg Fire Department wants to help residents stay safe during the holiday season.

Fireworks have been a large part of summer celebrations in West Virginia including being used during cookouts, family reunions and community parade.

Unfortunately, those celebrations can easily turn tragic for families not using the proper protocols, officials said.

“The public should be aware of the dangers associated with fireworks,” said Capt. Tim Flinn with the Parkersburg Fire Department. “Always drown a firework with a garden hose or bucket of water if it doesn’t perform the way it was intended.”

Flinn said the state of West Virginia has routine problems with people bringing fireworks that may be legal in some states but aren’t in West Virginia.

He said when residents purchase fireworks they should be aware of what they do and if they are illegal out of state, if that’s where people plan to use them.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks cause more damage to property than any other outdoor fire combined for July 4. About 92 percent of fireworks injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms involve fireworks with regulations permitted for consumers to use, statistics showed.

Fireworks and sparklers are designed to explode or throw off showers of hot sparks and temperatures often exceed 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is why the dazzling spectacles are considered dangerous in any circumstance.

Although the chances of having a fire caused by the blazing entertainment is far less than that of discarded smoking materials, when they do occur they are three time more likely to result in death, according to statistics.

In West Virginia, the most dangerous types of fireworks prohibited by law include large reloadable shells, festival balls or shots, cherry bombs, aerial bombs (skyrockets, Roman candles), daygo bombs, M-80 salutes and firecrakers. Also banned are the mail-order kits designed to build fireworks.

* Use caution. Make sure the sparklers and novelties are only items permitted for use in the state.

* Before using any legal fireworks, read and follow all warning instructions on the label.

* Always keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and pouring on items that fail to go out.

* Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks.

* Always make sure people are out of range before lighting fireworks.

* Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.

* Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially in glass or metal.

* Store fireworks in a cool, dry, secure place.

* Never touch unexploded fireworks and make sure children understand never to touch them.